Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Karma Police
I’ve given all I can
it’s not enough
I’ve given all I can but
we’re still on the payroll

In honor of the newly released Internet Explorer 7 I am releasing an updated version of The Heap: Is your browser ready yet Microsoft?

Even after a Sunday wasted hacking away at lingering float bugs, spontaneously resizing and repositioning elements, and inconsistent, unfathomable display issues the answer is a resounding “no.” Oh well, I guess I’ll just release the site as is and let your poor users deal with our combined ineptitude. As they say, “two can play.”

So to 12% of my readers (most likely consisting entirely of nomadic Googlers) I apologize for the visual state of this site. It is still navigable and the content readable but I’m tired of conceding artistic vision to any one browser’s laughable attempt at standard compliance. Maybe I’ll return to the problem in a month’s time but I’m done for today. (It should really go without saying that I wouldn’t take this stance on a commercial site and don’t suggest that anyone else does either, but this is the internet—asshats abound and misinterpretation supersedes intended meaning.)

We now return you to our regularly scheduled broadcast already in progress

In light of the murkiness created by the color generating algorithms in the previous iteration I’ve limited the use of color to accents and “ambient temporal context.” I rewrote the read me to explain this new use of color so I won’t waste your time by repeating that explanation here.

Overall, I’m much happier with the use of color this time around—I even managed to work it into a feed icon and my shirt. (Be sure to check back in June when I don an orange jumpsuit and do some hard time for slandering Microsoft’s latest effort.)

I’ve also tweaked the rate at which content ages—apparent now even in the yearly archives. The transition is gradual at first, increasing exponentially as content approaches the five year mark.

I’ve bumped the body text size down slightly and as a result lost some of the vertical rhythm of the previous design but type relationships on a whole feel more sensible this time around.

I’ve reintroduced some widgets to cut down on the sheer amount of text on the page at any given time (barring my yammering on). I’m sure that will make more than a few people happy. I’ve also added comment numbers and a detachable comment form (a la Snook) to make replying to earlier comments in a long thread a bit easier. The site fits in a maximized window at 1024 but if you plan on detaching the comment form, 1280 (or higher) is recommended.

Lastly—at least until I’m reminded of another new feature—I’ve added a filter to the archives and search results so you can ignore external links from the These Links? Again? pile. It should now be easier to find my original writing —and really experience the “ambient temporal context” provided by the new stripes. Have a look around and let me know what you think of the changes.

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Perian
Author
Shaun Inman
Posted
October 30th, 2006 at 9:02 am
Categories
The Site
About
Design
Web
Comments
033 (Now closed)

033 Comments

001

Hard (and somewhat annoying) to read older content (i.e. 2001). Yes, it’s older, but must I click “high-contrast” every single page I click to? Not sure how else you’d do this, and I like the design, but that decreases the helpfulness of the site/content, which seems contrary to the purpose of the design….

Overall liking it, especially amused with the about page t-shirt change.

Author
Benjamin Chait
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:06 am
002

Yes!

My opinion of the new design has gone from a minor frown to a big smile since your last tweek!

Body text is a little dark for me with the dark background but overall I love it!

Author
George
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:12 am
003

Umm.. not sure what to say. Not what I expected. The last incarnation was brilliant. This? I’m not quite sure. Would hae expected more.

Author
Jake Chism
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:13 am
004

I liked the murkiness of the first version of the heap. Not quite sure what’s going on with the first post heading on the page (with the color pallet, may just be my browser) but over all it’s nice and all the new wee icons are just delicious.

Author
Bradlay Law
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:16 am
005

This is the stuff!

I think the concept you unveiled a couple of weeks ago has now properly come to fruition; in that the visual effect is both more obvious and more aesthetically pleasing. Nicely done.

Now, how’s about that ‘sticky’ comments box? ;-)

Author
Elliot Jay Stocks
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:27 am
006

Loving it all, not the least of which is Vectorman on your About page. The stripes are positively Metro-esque. And that’s a good thing.

Author
Matt Thomas
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 10:30 am
007

Yep, I too like this a lot better than the original redesign from a few weeks ago. That one was good, especially in concept, but this one feels like it’s got more polish, more finish. Well done, my friend.

Author
Jeff Croft
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 11:39 am
008

Shaun, while I loved the previous version of the Heap more, I’m digging this version. If you had rolled this latest version out first then migrated to your first release of the heap, you would have had less backlash from all the “afraid of change types” :)

Keep on pleasing yourself, after all, this is YOUR site.

Author
Julian
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 11:50 am
009

O Mr. Inman what you done? You just keep on amazing us all!

I was wondering why you weren’t posting that much last week; only to be very amazed today with this more than awesome re-redesign.

Love the nifty use of the changing color bar on the left (reminds me a bit of Jon Hicks his groovy circles), the clever usage of striped backgrounds, etc.

“Tough guys wear pink!”, don’t they? ;)

B!

Author
Bramus!
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 1:05 pm
010

This design is much better. The colour decay in the comments alone is much more noticable. Plus, the new icons are extremely well done. So much so, I feel like returning the favour and integrating them into my site. :)

Author
Jonathan Snook
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 1:34 pm
011

I like what you have done with the place. looks good.

Author
nate K
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 1:35 pm
012

I think it’s a good idea overall, at least as a personal project. I don’t see any benefits from a usability perspective though.

My only problem with the design is the font size; I have to decrease the text size twice just to be able to read your posts. Otherwise it’s too claustrophobic and I want to close the tab as soon as possible!

Author
Taylan Pince
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 1:37 pm
013

I like the previous version. I can’t wait for the November version. And, surely IE afficionados will thank you.

Author
Sean Fraser
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 1:43 pm
014

Wonderful! It simply looks awesome. I loved the first heap, but this is simply beautiful. Thanks for truckloads of inspiration!

Author
Olof
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 2:02 pm
015

Hmmm… kinda makes a little bit more sense now that I’m home on my Mac and not on a PC. I now see how the pink/white sidebar fades as the page progresses.

Author
Jake Chism
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 3:27 pm
016

Pink makes me think of Jeff Croft. Make of that what you will…

Author
Mike D.
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 4:44 pm
017

Love the use of the pink. I’m not sure if I like this design as much as the original heap, but it’s nice and definitely different. Thumbs up…as usual.

Author
Joshua Kendall
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 6:41 pm
018

I thought that last week’s design was brilliant, if a bit ugly. This new revision keeps all of the brilliance, but removes all the ugliness and hard-to-readness.

It’s great.

Author
Julian Bennett Holmes
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 6:52 pm
019

Ack! The previous version was better! Heh - you can’t please everyone.

Rock on…

Author
Dean
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 7:28 pm
020

Very nice, love the new design for the comments especially.

Two thumbs up.

Author
Alex
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 8:11 pm
021

Excellent work. Like Jeff said above, the introduction of the design was brilliant, now this is the polished and revised version. Awesome job.

Author
Sujay
Posted
Oct 30th, 2006 9:05 pm
022

I think great and original idea again. Thumbs up!

Author
cr3n
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 12:06 am
023

After the last design, I thought you were beginning to lose the plot a bit. I could see what you were trying to do. I did “get it”, I just didn’t like what “it” was.

This, however, I like :) and the 5-6 year span for the fading pages is a bit more realistic than the 90 years or whatever it was before. Love the icons, love the theme. Nice one.

Author
Michael
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 12:40 am
024

Even though the visual changes are relatively subtle, I’m liking this a lot better.

Regarding the aged content, when one stumbles upon a washed out page, it’s nothing more than just a hurdle or inconvenience for an extra click. Unless someone has basically read the site’s “tutorial” (hmm… a web site tutorial?), then they’re lost (but admittedly intrigued.)

What I’m getting at here is the sense of a living, breathing web site could be conveyed better if the old content was “awakened” or “warmed up.” It should fade from washed out to legible, informing the visitor of what is going on. And maybe, just maybe, when one scrolls to the bottom, the content starts to slowly fade away again… There’s a lot of possibilities there. How does the old content awaken or warm up? Is it on page scroll? (Interactivity… nudging the page), mouseover, or does it warm up on page load, with older content taking longer to wake up? It’d be interesting to see the wolf play with this stuff. =)

Author
Brad
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 2:16 am
025

It’s great to see people doing something a little off the beaten path. I’m not quite sold on the time-fading business, but the overall style is nice.
I likes me some big type.

Author
Thomas Aylott
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 10:05 am
026

Wow! This is truly amazing stuff! Might I ask what font are the numbers in the background of numbers? Thanks!

Author
Sunny
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 9:47 pm
027

Oh, the perils of grand expectations. Who is the dictator of artistic doings? And what do the consequences say about the artist? Should it even matter? I don’t know. Art for Art’s sake. I’d say that maxime bodes well with a personal site. The previous version was radical. Very radical. Too radical for many and just right for some. This version offers more and far less simultaneously for me personally. I like it in a few ways. I dislike it in a few ways. In other words, I do not know what I think of it and it does not and should not matter at all. :)

Author
Maleika E.A.
Posted
Oct 31st, 2006 10:14 pm
028

I’m still trying to decide what I think about the aging pages, but I think you’re doing some interesting stuff here. The redesign really improves the readability and usability of the site.

The new icons are great, too, but they have one problem: it’s not always obvious what they are for. The only way I’ve figured out some of them was by looking at the link in the status bar. Maybe you could add tooltips for them?

Author
Tom S.
Posted
Nov 2nd, 2006 8:39 am
029

I still like the concept, though you could offer a way of storing the contrast preferences in a cookie or so. I guess the differences will become more obvious with time going by, when we start to see the left stripe change for all those articles. Tom S. is right. Please add tooltips for the icons. I also had to look at the status bar, and even then it wasn’t obvious in some cases.

All over, I like the new look and feel of your site. Still I’d like (but this may only be me) to see a place where to read up about your work. I have found most of your design and code work to be very inspiring, but I still lack a central easy-to-browse place where to look up.

Author
Chris Hoeppner
Posted
Nov 2nd, 2006 9:31 am
030

I like the theory, but it’s harder to read the older pages of the website when the contrast goes way down. Maybe darken the background the further back it goes? Something along those lines?

Author
Ranjani
Posted
Nov 2nd, 2006 8:15 pm
031

Just a few more fun thoughts….

What if you were to tie this idea into Mint or some other way of tracking page views—you could then have pages that are viewed often fade quicker and/or show signs of wear and tear.

Also, you could have pages that are still relevant, i.e. often linked to or viewed frequently, ‘decomposing’ slower than other pages, as they would—in theory, based upon continued interest—still be relevant.

I’d try to do something like this on my own, though I don’t have time nor the skills necessary for an undertaking like that….

Author
Benjamin Chait
Posted
Nov 6th, 2006 12:34 am
032

I somehow missed this, but your updates are definitely worthwhile. Looks great!

Makes The Heap look a lot more polished.

Author
Sam Brown
Posted
Nov 14th, 2006 7:42 am